Steven Soderbergh’s latest drama The Laundromat is inspired by the ‘Panama Papers’ scandal; The 2016 publication of leaked documents detailing financial and attorney / client information for more than two hundred thousand offshore entities. A leak that led to the eventual shut down of one of the largest providers of offshore financial services, Mossack Fonseca & Co.
Focused on educating and entertaining, I found Soderbergh’s film to be only partly successful at both. This is mainly because I had trouble staying engaged. Particularly, to my surprise, for much of Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman’s scenes. The way the film is written, structured and edited certainly didn’t help matters.
Soderbergh essentially shared the stories of some of the dealings of the offshore organisations / individuals who were helping the rich take advantage and get away with it. And they did it all with the help of the likes of Banderas and Oldman’s characters – the pair behind law firms like Mossack Fonseca & Co.
Eventually the whistleblower shows up; a character who, in real life has managed to remain anonymous, and this is where Soderbergh and the writers decided to get creative and give a face to the person behind the leak. It would be great to say that this is when things got really interesting. Sadly, no – due to the aforementioned story structure issues which resulted in the whole experience feeling quite disjointed.
The Laundromat felt like a series of very loosely linked stories that were somewhat entertaining on their own but together they didn’t make for a well put together finished product. Meryl Streep was of courser watchable, as always but that just wasn’t enough in the end.
Watch The Laundromat if you’re really, REALLY curious.
Happy Film Loving